March 7, 2011

Book Review: Haven

Title: Haven
Author: Kristi Cook
Length: 401 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse (an imprint of Simon & Schuster)
On-Sale Date: February 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover

Haven is Violet’s story.  Her mother passed away when she was little, and she’s still feeling the aftershocks of her dad’s death.  With only a preoccupied step-mom and sweet elderly grandmother left, Violet chooses to attend a boarding school named Winterhaven.  She immediately feels as if she belongs.
But Violet has a secret.  She has visions of death and injury about the people she’s closest to.
When Violet meets Aidan she’s drawn in.  The Aidan Effect they call it.  But somehow it’s more.  So, it’s not unexpected when Violet sees Aidan’s death.  The shock is that she sees herself as the killer.
Can Violet change her vision?  Or does she end up killing the boy she loves?

I found myself very conflicted about Haven.  But let’s be honest, it was far from my favourite read.
I liked the characters, but I could not say that I loved them.
There was a point where I was more entertained by the love interest than the narrator.  I found Aidan to be smarter than Violet, which was expected as he was more than a century older than her.  Violet was unsure of herself and too malleable.  She should have been an iconic character, but instead of standing up, she blended in.  She didn’t own her individuality, and she would have been an amazing heroine, if she had.  Violet started to own up to her heritage and abilities near the end, but it wasn’t enough.
You saw an improvement in Violet as the story progressed, but it was slow paced.  As the series (I’m hoping it’s a series) is continued, Violet will have a chance to become comfortable in her character.
Haven caught me at the end, but lost me many times in the middle.  When a page was turned or a new paragraph was started it seemed like something was missing.  Sentences had to be reread.  But it turned out just to be the writing style.  Once invested in the novel, I was almost able to get a handle on the rough transitions.
I wasn’t moved.  Haven didn’t make me emotional or lose control.  There was no crying or laughing … Or throwing said book across the room.  There might have been some screaming though.
I didn’t want to jump in and save Violet.  I wanted her to save herself, because she was capable of it.  I wished Violet was strong enough to see that.  A story is only as strong as it’s characters.
As for Aidan, he was always hot and cold.  Although he was sure of his feelings toward our heroine he did his best to stay away from her.  Yes, it would generally be safer for the monsters to be kept at bay, but it’s been done before.
Aidan and Violet could not be in a relationship, because of extenuating supernatural circumstances, but they spent their separation wallowing.  At least Aidan was productive and tried to better his situation.  As he was, he and Violet couldn’t have a future.
I enjoyed the reality within the supernatural.  Violet was scarred and suffering, and just trying to move on.  She found someone who was even more damaged than she could possibly be, and she held on tight.
My interest was heightened by the spin put on Aidan's character. I hope that plot point is explored further.
I couldn’t help but draw parallels to Twilight when I read this book.  Girl moved to a new town, enrolled in a new school, made new friends.  And she found a supernatural boyfriend too.  Frankly, this sort of supernatural plot is my bread and butter, but something was missing from Haven.
The major problem I had with Haven was that it didn’t make me care.  Enough.  It didn’t make me feel enough.  I wanted a connection with the characters, but it just wasn’t present.
Maybe I was too hard on Violet, but there are high standards because of all the well written heroines of the past and present.

Twilight lovers should take a bite out of Haven.

I didn’t love it.  I wanted to, but I didn’t.I want the series to continue.  I want to keep reading Violet’s story.  It can only get better, right?

Premise: 2/5
Plot: 3/5
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Overall: 2.5/5


  1. hopefully! I have felt that way on numerous occasions. The writing can only get better (we hope) and part of knowing which books we honestly like and honestly don't, is what makes a good reviewer :) Excellent review lady!

  2. I see why you're so conflicted! I'm conflicted just reading about the story, and not the actual story. I don't know, I might read this, I might not. Well, if there is a sequel and it does get better, just let me know! Ha! This was an amazing review though, you really did a fantastic job with this!

  3. YES! I could not possibly agree with you more. You totally hit the nail on the head with your review. A couple chapters in, my brain was screaming TWILIIIIIGHT at me. I couldn't quite put my finger on my problem with Violet, but you totally captured it -- she was stronger than she acted. It drove me nuts! Controlling emo supernatural boyfriend was way annoying when you knew she should be able to give him a kick in the rump. Le sigh. Awesome review, mediocre book.

  4. I recently read this book and I absolutely loved it! I read it in two days, and could hardly put it down for a second. When I found out that it was a debut novel i was disappointed because I was so eager to read the second book. This is definitely one of the best books I have read in a long time. Violet is an interesting Heroine and Aiden is the perfect mystery guy. It's nice to see a girl who is definitely not a "Bella", who has friends that aren't just kind of left behind. It was obviously for me a fast read and I truly enjoyed it.